Sweet and Peppery BBQ Sauce

September 16, 2013

I’ve probably mentioned this 4,000 times by now, but I am in love with barbeque sauce.  Yes. In love.  Barbeque sauce for me is like Nutella to every sane person in the world.  I will “joke” about how I could eat it as soup and aspire to one day actually make a barbeque sauce soup – if this is already a thing I’ve somehow never heard of, PLEASE TELL ME NOW kindly leave a link in the comments.

Sweet and Peppery BBQ Sauce

Despite my love for tangy, smokey sauces, I had never actually made one on my own before, aside from “emergency sauces”.  Oh. Other people don’t need to cobble together a BBQ sauce for emergency situations?  That’s weird.

Sweet and Peppery BBQ Sauce

Last week I decided I couldn’t stand it any longer – I just had to make a sauce to call my own. And guys? It’s delicious.  I stood over the stove eating spoonfuls of barbeque sauce, making slight tweaks, and eating another spoonful until it was perfect.  I know everyone’s perfect sauce isn’t going to be exactly the same, so I encourage you to taste and tweak the seasonings as necessary.

Sweet and Peppery BBQ Sauce

  • Scant ½ c tomato paste
  • 1 ½ c ketchup (preferably without high fructose corn syrup)
  • ¼ c honey or agave nectar
  • ½ c brown sugar
  • ¼ c molasses
  • ¼ c apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar (or additional apple cider vinegar)
  • 2 ½ tsp ground mustard powder
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • ¾ tsp garlic
  • 1 ½ – 2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • ¾ tsp onion powder
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce (can use GF or Soy free alternative)
  • 4 tsp liquid smoke

  1. In a medium sauce pan over medium heat combine paste, ketchup, honey/agave, sugar, molasses and vinegar. Heat until sugar is dissolved.
  2. Add remaining ingredients, adjusting spices to taste if necessary.
  3. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat.
  4. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened to your preference (it took about 30 minutes to cook mine down to 3 c)

Adjust as necessary to achieve your perfect BBQ sauce.
The soy sauce provided all of the salt I wanted, but additional salt may be necessary based on your BBQ sauce preferences. Add a shake or two of cayenne pepper if you like your sauce spicier.
This can keep for months in an airtight container in the fridge (I like to use a mason jar).
Makes 3C, Serving Size: 2 Tbsp.

Nutrition Information
Calories: 60 Fat: 0g Carbohydrates: 14g Fiber: 0g Protein: .5g


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    Buffalo Veggie Pizza - Hidden Fruits and Veggies Jan 21, 2014

    […] for years, I’ve been dreaming about making my own.  Okay, BBQ pizza came first, because barbeque sauce = love.  Because Josh was crying for those little green spheres, I knew they had to go on my […]

      Kelly Sep 23, 2013

      Let me know if you end up trying it or making a different one!

    Sara Sep 21, 2013

    I am so intrigued by this. I love being able to make things like this from scratch, because then a recipe really becomes your own. . . . Like bbq meatballs, pulled pork, etc – instead of you and KC Masterpiece. . . . 🙂

      Kelly Sep 23, 2013

      Right? I love adding an extra bit of my flair to the food I make 🙂

    Shelley @ Two Healthy Kitchens Sep 20, 2013

    Nope – I’ve never heard of BBQ sauce soup – make it!!!! And thanks for the great recipe! This looks delicious and I love that it doesn’t have some of the yucky stuff that you find in store-bought versions. (I was so disappointed years ago to realize my new-fave BBQ sauce had high fructose corn syrup as one of its major ingredients.) So, after you make that soup, are you tackling BBQ sauce layer cake?!?! 😀

      Kelly Sep 20, 2013

      Omg, I never knew I needed something more than I now need BBQ sauce cake.

    Nicole @ Young, Broke and Hungry Sep 18, 2013

    Making your own BBQ sauce is not only cheaper but taste better too! A day testing BBQ sauce sounds like a good day to me.

    makingthymeforhealth Sep 18, 2013

    I’m a pretty big fan of BBQ sauce too, if it’s done right. Your version sounds amazing! I bet the molasses really kicks it up a notch.

    Julia Sep 18, 2013

    I’m right there with you on the barbecue sauce front – I Loooooove it! Making your own is genius – it’s been far too long since I’ve done so! Next time I make up some barbecue, I’ll be sure to make your saucy delicious recipe first! 🙂

    Christine @ Gotta Eat Green Sep 18, 2013

    I’ve made homemade BBQ sauce one time.. and I loved it! I don’t know why I haven’t taken another spin at it. It takes so much better!!

      Kelly Sep 18, 2013

      I was really surprised at how much flavor you could get for so little effort!

    marcie@flavorthemoments Sep 17, 2013

    Yum and double YUM! The best part about making your own BBQ sauce is the taste testing correct? I think all BBQ sauces need liquid smoke, and I love all the spices in here. Looks great, Kelly!

      Kelly Sep 17, 2013

      I have kind of an unhealthy obsession with liquid smoke. I want to add it to everything!

    Joanne Sep 17, 2013

    I’ve made bbq sauce from scratch a few times and it is SOOOO much better than anything from the store! Such a nice depth of flavor.

    Reeni Sep 16, 2013

    I’m a bbq sauce lover too! This sounds so tasty! It sounds like you had a lot of fun getting that perfect flavor. Taste testing is the best!

    Chocolate Shavings Sep 16, 2013

    I love barbecue sauce too and this looks like it would hit the spot!

    Becky @ Olives n Wine Sep 16, 2013

    BBQ sauce comes in as my #1 savory food item. Some days it even beats out Nutella. Are you shocked??! I am in the works of creating a butternut squash-goat cheese – BBQ sauce soup – how amazing does that sound?

      Kelly Sep 16, 2013

      It sounds PERFECT! Post the recipe asap

    Christine @ 24 Carrot Kitchen Sep 16, 2013

    I bet homemade tastes much better than store bought. Would love to give this a try. What recipes do you usually use it with?


      Kelly Sep 16, 2013

      I have a BBQ shredded veggie sandwich (think like a vegan nod to a pulled pork or shredded chicken dish) I’m going to be posting probably on Wednesday. Otherwise, use like you would BBQ sauce. I like it on veggie burgers, you could use it in my BBQ veggie enchiladas, on pizza — really, use it anyway you normally would BBQ sauce. If there’s still any grilling season left where you are, I highly recommend slathering it on some veggies while they’re on the grill!